Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that a middle ground needs to be found for the people of the state who are being killed because of the menace of terrorism. Reacting to the killing of five civilians following an encounter in Shopian, the PDP leader said that both guns and stones were in the hands of the poor and steps need to be taken to rescue them.
“Our soldiers and children are being killed. Stones are in hands of poor, guns also are in hands of poor (security forces) only. We have to find a middle ground to save them,” said Mehbooba Mufti.
On Sunday, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister had expressed anguish and grief over the death of the civilians after the Shopian encounter, urging Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre to show “element of compassion and empathy as required by the present day situation”.
"It sounds very depressing to note that our state is losing young lives, to the unending cycle of violence, who could otherwise be utilised for a positive contribution to the state. Today's deaths have brought a stark fact to fore that gun, either way of a militant or that of security forces, is no solution for resolving issues," Mehbooba said.
She said political issues need political intervention. "The three decades' long violence in the state is a testimony to the fact that guns from either side cannot ensure peace, but a compassion driven reconciliation process based on mutual respect surely can.
"In this regard, I appeal the national leadership of the country to show the element of compassion and empathy as required by the present day situation here and display the statesmanship to get J-K out of the quagmire of killings by engaging in a meaningful dialogue in the state. The sooner it happens, the more we can get our state out of the vicious cycle of killings and destruction," she said.
Major clashes broke out between civilians and security forces in Shopian after the latter gunned down five terrorists, including Hizbul Mujahideen top commander Saddam Padder and a fresh recruit, an assistant professor from the Kashmir University, in an encounter that went on for over six hours.
The five slain terrorists were identified as Saddam Hussain Padder, Bilal Ahmad Mohand, Adil Ahmed Malik, Tauseed Ahmad Sheikh and Mohammed Rafi Bhat, a PhD scholar and an assistant professor in the Kashmir University.
(With agency inputs)